Mackenzie Asher lost her battle.
The 11-year-old Yukon girl passed away Thursday at about 4 p.m. at the Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center following an 18-month battle with acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive form of the disease.
She was a fifth-grade student at Independence Elementary School in Yukon.
Mackenzie had been readmitted to the hospital on Nov. 12, just days after returning from a Make-A-Wish trip, where she met YouTube star Jake Paul. She even appeared in one of his videos.
During that video, Paul promised that she could appear in an upcoming music video. She passed away before that could occur, but a video honoring her memory has been posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeY6-PB_kUw
Mackenzie’s father said she was released from the hospital on Monday and attended a children’s event hosted by the hospital at Incredible Pizza.
“She slowly started deteriorating. She was pretty sick Thursday morning, so we took her in. We didn’t know how bad she was,” he said.
He said because Mackenzie didn’t have an immune system due to the fight against leukemia, she was suffering from quadruple pneumonia.
The family says they did not discuss the possibility of death with Mackenzie.
“We tried our best to protect her from that. The last thing I wanted was for her to be scared,” he said. “I didn’t want her to fear about tomorrow.
Mackenzie’s battle, he said, was an inspiration to others.
“My pride in her has not faultered. She ultimately lost this battle, but her legacy will live on. She had 18,000 Instagram followers. She touched a lot of people. Her legacy makes me have pride,” he said.
He also said the family has a great support system that not only includes Paul, but also OU quarterback Baker Mayfield, who mentioned Mackenzie’s death during the Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday.
“She had a great support team. … It’s been pretty humbling that so many were vested in her life and story,” he said.
During his interview leading up to his winning the Heisman, Mayfield reflected on his time with Mackenzie and dedicated the remainder of his season to her.
“She’s a girl had the biggest heart. She really showed never to take anything for granted. She was in pain, a lot of pain because she was suffering from leukemia. …. She came to the games and I got to meet her and gave her a headband. I didn’t make her day, she made mine. She’s now watching over us. She’s going to be watching over the Oklahoma football program. There is a sweet angel up there with a big heart,” Mayfield said.
“Right now, our thoughts and prayers are with her family. It’s a tough deal. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for them. Anything we can do to help them, they’re always going to be a part of the Sooner family,” Mayfield said.
Asher said the family had suspicions that Mayfield might say something, but weren’t certain. Officials from OU Medical had contacted the family seeking information a few minutes before the national broadcast.
“We kind of hoped he might say something. We are just grateful he showed an interest in her,” he said. “There were tears everywhere.”
Funeral services were Tuesday.